1. What is Panic Disorder?

    November 23, 2013

    What is Panic Disorder?

    Have you ever experienced sudden attacks of fear and uneasiness? Have you ever felt physical symptoms such as sweating, chills and a pounding heart without warning? Have you ever believed in a stressful situation that at any moment you are going to die? When these symptoms have no relation to the environment or context, the cause might be a panic attack. When these attacks repeatedly happen to a person, they might be suffering from a psychological condition known as panic disorder.
    Panic disorder is a sub-type of anxiety disorder.  The reactions of a person suffering from a panic disorder are different from our normal reactions to everyday stressful occurrences. This disorder manifests a severe form of anxiety; the symptoms are sudden and intense. The comorbidity of panic attacks with other anxiety disorders has made it difficult to diagnose. The latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which mental health professionals use to diagnose patients, lists the following symptoms and criteria of panic disorder (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

    1. Recurrent unexpected panic attacks

    2. At least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one or both of the following:

    –  Persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, going crazy).

    –  Significant maladaptive change in behavior related to the attacks (e.g., behaviors designed to avoid having panic attacks, such as avoidance of exercise or unfamiliar situations).

    3. The panic attacks are not restricted to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., an illegal drug or a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism, cardiopulmonary disorders).

    4. The panic attacks are not restricted to the symptoms of another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g., in response to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (e.g., in response to a circumscribed phobic object or situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., in response to dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., in response to stimuli associated with a traumatic event), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., in response to being away from home or close relatives).

    Panic attacks are mostly prompted by situations that are perceived to be very stressful, such as speaking in front of a crowd.  A sense of panic quickly overwhelms the victim and the immediate response is to completely remove them from the situation. Chances of experiencing a panic attack increase if person is away from home and out of their comfort zone. Some attacks may last longer than others, but in most cases they reach the peak symptoms in 10 minutes and return to normal in 20 to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict when it will happen again, but we know that the chances to have another attack are greater for people who have already had a panic attack . Women are also at a greater risk for having panic attacks, and most of the cases have supported the fact that it usually occurs during early adulthood.  Depressions, drug abuse or suicidal attempts may go hand-in-hand with panic disorder.

    The reasons behind panic disorders are currently unknown, but there are several potentially contributing factors.  These include genetics, as well as with major life changes such as entering college, joining the professional workplace, and any life stressor like the death of loved one, loss of major possessions or marital problems.  It can also be the result of traumatic or embarrassing experiences that occurred at some time during their lives.  The mere thought or recall of those memories can trigger an attack.

    The positive: panic disorder is treatable. Anti-anxiety medications are not the only option. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be the most effective therapy for treating panic disorder.  It focuses on changing the irrational thought patterns in the patients mind that are instigating the attacks. Exposure therapy, group therapy, self-help techniques, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture are also being used for treatment of panic disorder.

    The suffering is not only experienced by the patient; family members, friends and many others that are exposed to the panic disorder suffer from its negative effects. But, they can also be the best source of emotional support, understanding, hope and recovery. It is not easy to deal with a family member or friend who has a panic disorder.  However, one of the most difficult challenges can also yield the greatest rewards.  By simply listening and supporting the person suffering with this disorder, everyone can start down the path to recovery.


    1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington American Psychiatric Publishing.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/challengeconvention/8106671053


  2. Anxiety in Pregnancy and Early Parenthood

    July 1, 2013

    anxiety in pregnancy

    by Ngaire Stirling

    Anxiety Disorder is a blanket term for a selection of mental health issues widely believed to be caused by a deficiency in a neurotransmitter known as GABA and abnormal activity in the amygdala (flight or fight section of the brain) hypothalamus and cerebellum.  Anxiety Disorders tend to be genetically pre-determined to some extent but are also triggered by stress and worry.  This makes pregnancy and early parenthood a key period for anxiety symptoms in women.

    Anxiety in Pregnancy

    Around 10%* of women experience anxiety or depression in pregnancy and up to 40% in women diagnosed with fertility issues. Previous anxiety issues, poor coping skills, changed living arrangements, violence or abuse, poverty, discrimination, life changes such as giving up work, feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and unplanned pregnancy can all contribute to the likelihood of developing an ante natal anxiety disorder.  Treatment of anxiety disorders includes a number of pharmaceuticals including SSRI anti-depressants however these are not recommended in pregnancy.  Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is recommended for women who wish to avoid medication during pregnancy.

    Anxiety Disorders in Early Parenthood

    Diagnosis with post-natal depression often includes any one of many Anxiety Disorders. This can, unfortunately, leave women who aren’t depressed believing that feelings of panic and extreme anxiety are part of motherhood.   Around 16%* of women are diagnosed post-natal depression in the first year after the birth of their baby and triggers include adjusting to this major life change, sleeplessness, coping with the day to day stresses of motherhood and concerns about baby development.

    How Anxiety Disorders manifest during  Pregnancy and Early Parenthood

    Pregnancy Specific Anxiety

    Pregnancy Specific Anxiety is measured by a questionnaire that determines the level and classification of the anxiety disorder.  It’s been examined in depth as acute anxiety has been proven to have ongoing effects on the child, including pre-mature birth, difficulty concentrating and lower density grey matter.  Major triggers have been identified as fears of birth, fertility issues bearing a disabled child, marital problems, pregnancy complications, negative impact on career and being a younger mother to be.  Pregnant women can be assessed for the level of anxiety they’re experiencing and counselling may be recommended.

    Generalised Anxiety Disorder

    This is the most common diagnosed anxiety condition and is common in both pregnancy and early motherhood.  It manifests in excessive worry about the birth, living arrangements and parenting issues.  Symptoms may include lack of concentration, appearing “short tempered”, fatigue, insomnia and muscle tension.

    Panic Disorder

    Panic disorders can manifest in nausea, confusion, dizziness, racing pulse, extreme emotional state and difficulty breathing.  As some of these symptoms can also be attributed to pregnancy itself, women can feel panicked and be unaware of an underlying disorder.  Panic disorder is generally triggered by acute stress or fear making pregnant women especially vulnerable.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is surprisingly common in women who have had difficult births or a birth that did not go to plan.  Symptoms include “flashbacks”, panicked feelings, breathlessness and feeling faint when recalling various aspects of the birth.

    Situational Anxiety

    Situational Anxiety is the most common form of anxiety issue and is a direct response to a stressful situation – from a day to day situation to a major life change.  Most people experience situational anxiety at some point in their lives and early parenthood is one of the most reported periods.  A therapist may help identify periods where the anxiety is at its worst and recommend ways to manage it.

    Social Anxiety Disorder

    Social Anxiety Disorder is where the woman has an intense fear of public scrutiny or elevated levels of attention.  As pregnancy tends to increase a woman’s exposure to medical scrutiny and involves activity perceived as “humiliating” (such as constant weighing and invasive exams) it can heighten the symptoms of this disorder.  Similarly, a woman suffering post natal anxiety may feel as though she is being judged for her mothering skills.  This can lead to women withdrawing and isolating themselves, which can, in turn, lead to depression.

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Compulsive behaviour triggered by repetitive obsessions (intrusive and distressing thoughts and mental images) results from acutely stressful situations.  This is common after the birth of a child where a mother becomes fixated on preventing harm to the child.  The mother may experience “flashes” of disturbing images where her child is hurt or harmed and will compensate with a repetitive behaviour.   Early motherhood can trigger compulsive cleaning behaviours.

    Phobias including Agoraphobia

    Because of the “medical” nature of pregnancy and birth, the most common phobia is a fear of medical interference, bodily fluids and of course, the pain of childbirth.  In the early parenthood period, irrational fears may become overwhelming, especially those related to safety of the child.  Visualising “worst case scenario” consequences of contact with the object of fear can trigger extreme panic in mothers with acute phobias.

    Agoraphobia is a fear of being in a situation where she cannot escape and result in avoidance behaviours such as staying at home or avoiding specific locations.  Agoraphobics may experience a panic attack in such a situation.  This is more common towards the end of pregnancies where women are overcome by fear of labour and shortly after birth where a simple trip with a baby seems overwhelming and fraught with danger.

    Anxiety is an extremely common mental health issue and pregnancy issue.  It’s a leading trigger of pre and post-natal depression and can impact greatly both the mother and the child.  It’s vital for parents who need help to seek it immediately.

    Image Credit: Trevor Bair

  3. Panic Attacks And Acupuncture: An Alternative Treatment

    June 27, 2013

    Panic attack

    by Ryan Rivera

    While the Bay area is a great place to live, it’s not without its stresses. Many people struggle with stress and anxiety daily, and some of those people experience stress so severe that it culminates to panic attacks. Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants made headlines last year when he was sidelined for hours as a result of a severe panic attack, and thousands of less famous residents suffer from these attacks regularly to the point where they need serious intervention.

    Panic attacks are complicated anxiety problems. They’re not just an issue with stress and anxiety. They’re also a problem with “over-sensitivity” – where the mind becomes overly focused on physical sensations to the point where it notices each and every change in the way your body feels, and those sensations end up triggering panic attacks. That’s what makes acupuncture as a panic attack treatment so interesting, because it can potentially help control not only the anxiety, but also the sensitivity that triggers episodes of panic.

    The Benefits of Acupuncture for Panic Attacks

    In order to treat panic attacks, you have to first combat anxiety and stress, and then follow that up with some type of solution that counters some of the anxiety attack triggers – for example, minor aches and pains, an increased heart rate, etc. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always been fond of acupuncture. Acupuncture has specific points on the body (which can vary depending on your stresses) that are known to promote significant mental wellness. Acupuncturists often have different views on which points to use depending on their training, but you’ll find that such points may include:  ST 30,  LIV 13, P 4, HE 5, and P 6

    These are the areas that reduce issues like heart palpitations, mania, tension, and more. They’re the release points for a variety of anxiety-related symptoms and issues, and some of many that are linked to providing the body with considerably more resistant to anxiety and stress.

    However, in addition to the basic anxiety relief points, acupuncture can be used to address other issues as well, and may have some additional benefits beyond reducing anxiety and stress symptoms that can help you overcome your panic attack issues.

    Acupuncture and Focus

    One of the main problems with panic attacks is that the more reminders you have about your panic attacks, the more likely you are to get one. This is because thinking about panic attacks can cause panic attacks. The more distracted you are, the less likely a panic attack will occur.

    Taking medications every day or going to therapy regularly may have some advantages, but they also force you to remind yourself that you suffer from panic disorder, which of course increases the likelihood that you’ll think about your symptoms and create a new attack. On the other hand, while you may need to attend regular acupuncture treatments, it is also not something you need to address daily. This will help ensure that you’re not overly focused on it, so that when you’re living without stress you’re not as reminded of your panic.

    Acupuncture and Reducing Physical Sensations

    Similarly, acupuncture can potentially stop some of the physical sensations that cause panic attacks beyond those related directly to anxiety. For example, if you often feel that your legs are weak, and when you feel this way you have a panic attack, then by addressing this directly (ie, using acupuncture to prevent leg weakness) you’ll decrease the frequency of your physical sensations and ultimately have fewer issues that cause attacks.

    Using Acupuncture as an Alternative Panic Attack Treatment

    For all of these reasons, acupuncture has become a very interesting method of treating anxiety and panic, and is growing in popularity within the Bay Area.

    Any anxiety treatment needs to incorporate lifestyle changes that contribute to anxiety. Fatty foods, obesity, a lack of exercise, and working in a stressful environment are all issues that will always cause some anxiety. Make sure that you’ve examined the ways that you yourself have increased your own anxiety symptoms, because while acupuncture (and any anxiety treatment) can reduce anxiety, they cannot stop you from contributing to it without your own willingness to commit to life changes.

    But when you’ve made those changes, there are several reasons that acupuncture may be to your advantage when you suffer from panic attacks. Find an acupuncturist you trust, and you may find that your panic attacks drastically decrease in overall frequency and severity for weeks at a time.

    Image CreditLuis Sánchez

  4. Coping With Mental Illness: Anxiety, Depression, Adult ADHD and Other Conditions

    June 14, 2013

    by Valerie Johnston

    Mental illness can easily interfere with a person’s quality of life, even if the issues aren’t outwardly apparent. People who suffer from mental illness often struggle with inner demons that can make the ordinary tasks of life seem like burdens that are impossible to overcome. Each type of mental illness has its own unique set of problems as well as methods of psychological treatment. However, there are a few coping strategies that can help people with any kind of mental illness or disorder, from anxiety and depression, to adult ADHD and other serious types of mental illnesses.

    Step 1: Get Help

    Mental illness still carries a stigma in many communities; so people are often reluctant to seek treatment for their condition. If you are experiencing the symptoms of any mental illness or disorder, it is important to realize that the problem that you are suffering from is a real and physical problem. Though you may or may not be able to see any outward physical problems of the condition, that doesn’t make the symptoms any less real. If you are experiencing anxiety, fear, depression, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, or any other symptom, you should plan a visit to the psychiatrist or clinical psychologist to get help. At the very least, you should confide in family members or friends that you trust. They will be able to give you some support and advice to help you move forward.

    Step 2: Develop a Plan for Treatment

    The best way to cope with mental illness is to get regular treatment from a doctor, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist. They will be able to help you treat your condition in any number of ways. They may prescribe medication that will help reduce your symptoms and make coping with your condition easier, though medications do not necessarily have to be used as the first line of defense. Many clinical psychologists will suggest starting with therapy (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help you learn how to cope with your mental illness. Having regular appointments with a therapist can help you work through some of your issues and create routines that make it easier to manage the symptoms of depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or whatever type of mental illness you are suffering from.

    Step 3: Build a Network of Support

    There is no doubt that patients who have a support system will experience far better success rates with their treatment of mental illness. Coping with the stress and added anxiety of a mental illness is easier when you have friends and family members who can take some of the burden away from you. It is important to build a support network and to involve these people in your treatment, so they can know how to help you cope. If your family and friends are aggravating your symptoms and making your condition worse, they might not know what to do to help you manage your condition. Sit down and talk with them, and explain to them how they can help you cope with different types of situations.

    Step 4: Make Lifestyle Changes

    Sometimes our lives are a source of undue stress, and this can easily aggravate any type of health problem, especially a problem like depression, ADD, or bipolar disorder. Clinical psychologists recommend taking the time to evaluate your life and look for ways to reduce your stress levels, which will hopefully help alleviate some of the problems you are dealing with. If work is particularly stressful, try to sit down and talk to your employers about your condition.

    See if there is anything they can do to help make the work environment more productive and less triggering for your illness. Make changes to your thinking, positive thinking is the best remedy for anxiety and depression. It is equally important to make sure your home life is as balanced and stress free as can be as well. Have your family members lend a hand, so you can cut down on the stress at home. Making changes to your lifestyle can reduce your level of stress and ultimately make it easier to cope with the symptoms of your illness.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

  5. Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    April 17, 2013

    anxiety disorders

    by Tsvetan Petrov

    Everyone feels anxiety at certain point in their life. It’s completely natural to feel anxiety in challenging or dangerous times. That can come when a person is just feeling uncomfortable or in real threatening danger. Spending too much time in that state of anxiety can mean that there is an underlying disorder. Different things can cause these anxiety disorders and each one has their one particular effects.

     Anxiety Disorders – Most Common

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    A person that consistently feels anxiety when there is no practical reason to remain in that state might have a generalized anxiety disorder. When a person with this disorder is asked why they’re feeling that way, they won’t be able to answer clearly. The typical bout will take around 6 months. It’s particularly common in women. The anxiety doesn’t go away and continues to eat away at the people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. That can lead to a number of medical concerns like insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, and headaches.


    People with a phobia don’t have consistent anxiety without a trigger. They typically have a very specific trigger for their anxiety. They develop an overbearing fear of something or some situation. That fear can be something close to reasonable or something completely unnecessary depending on the severity. Whenever that fear begins to kick in, the person suffering may experience strong feelings of fear. That includes trouble breathing, heart palpitations, nausea, and shaking. Some of the most popular phobia’s that people have are blood, small areas, animals, and heights. Phobia’s can lead people to make poor decisions in an attempt to escape a high anxiety situation.

    Panic disorder

    People suffering from Panic disorders or agoraphobia will unexpectedly suffer from massive bouts of anxiety called panic attacks. They’ll often include chest pain, dizzy spells, fear, shaking, and discomfort with being alone. Many panic attacks are completely irrational and sufferers often even know that is the case. Often people will go out of their way to not be alone or in a public situation for that reason. Panic attacks can be minor or severe enough that someone may cause self harm.

    Social Anxiety

    Social anxiety is a phobia of social situations. People suffering from social phobia will often suffer symptoms like a panic attack when they’re exposed to public situations. They may become dizzy, shake, feel short of breath, and they may even have heart palpitations. This social anxiety can occur with strangers or close friends. It’s often most severe when the person becomes the center of attention of the group.

    OCD – Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

    OCD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by an obsessive feeling or thought. They often will manage their own anxiety by doing repetitive tasks that don’t allow anxiety to slip in throughout the day. One common example is someone that is OCD about cleanliness. They can feel anxiety at the sight of a little bit of a problem. That will lead to the person cleaning and reordering continuously without any logical end in sight.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    When a person suffers through a particularly damaging event in their life, they may end up suffering from recurring bouts of that anxiety and stress. That is Post-traumatic stress disorder. It can often be caused by a simple similarity between the damaging event and what is happening (familiar object or person.) The person may suddenly fall back into reliving the events that they suffered through. This can lead to panic attacks, loss of control, and crying. Often people suffering will have less obvious symptoms like avoidance of certain situations and trouble sleeping. Post traumatic stress disorder can start instantly after the event or it can start decades later.

    Anxiety disorders need to be understood to be treated effectively in a healthy way. Many of the methods used to work with an anxiety disorder, not only control the symptoms, but also aim to strengthen the natural mechanisms. A person must be diagnosed and treated accordingly to eliminate the anxiety that they feel.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini

  6. How Breathing Can Reduce Many of the Symptoms of Panic Attacks

    March 8, 2013

    panic attack

    Image Credit: Mark Haertl

    by Ryan Rivera

    Panic attacks may be an anxiety condition, but they’re characterized by some severe physical symptoms. These symptoms can be so debilitating that many people end up in ambulances, on their way to the hospital because they believe they’re suffering from a heart attack, brain tumor, or some type of dangerous and deadly disease.

    But panic attacks and panic disorder are still caused by nothing more than anxiety, and in many ways it’s how you react to your attacks that create panic attacks so severe that they require hospitalization.

    Stopping the Panic Symptoms

    Panic attacks can be triggered by stress, or they can be triggered by nothing at all. Some people have panic attacks only during moments of intense anxiety, while others can have a panic attack simply because they notice that their heart feels different than normal, as though something is wrong with it. Some people experience panic attacks simply because they are afraid of getting one.

    No matter what causes your panic attacks, the more severe the panic attack is the more likely you are to:

    • Fear getting one if the future
    • Alter your behavior to avoid panic attacks
    • Experience health anxiety over “what if” questions about panic attack symptoms.

    That’s why it’s so important it is to not just cure your panic attacks, but also reduce their severity when you experience one. One of the best ways to do that is to simply change the way you’re breathing.

    Panic Attacks and Hyperventilation

    Panic attacks can cause many symptoms, including chest pains, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and weakness or tingling in the extremities. But most of these symptoms aren’t caused by the anxiety itself. It’s caused by a symptom of that anxiety known as hyperventilation.

    Most people have heard of hyperventilation before, usually as kids when their parents tell them not to breathe in and out too quickly. But what you may not realize is that hyperventilation isn’t the act of not getting enough oxygen. It’s actually the act of breathing out too much carbon dioxide. Your body needs carbon dioxide to operate, and when you breathe too quickly you end up with blood that actually has too much oxygen.

    Breathing quickly isn’t the only way to hyperventilate either. You can also hyperventilate by trying to take deeper breaths than your body needs, and not holding that air for long enough for it to turn into carbon dioxide. This is especially relevant because hyperventilation can actually cause you to feel as though you’re not getting enough oxygen, causing you to take deeper breaths than you need in order to compensate and unfortunately making your hyperventilation worse.

    Reducing Hyperventilation Symptoms

    Since most of the worst symptoms of panic attacks are the result of hyperventilation, then it stands to reason that if you can stop hyperventilating before or during an attack, you should be able to reduce the panic attack’s severity.

    That’s why when you feel like a panic attack is coming on it is in your best interests to slow down your breathing. Try breathing in slowly through your nose for 5 seconds, holding for 3 seconds, and then breathing out through pursed lips for 7 seconds. This type of slower breathing will rebuild some of the carbon dioxide levels in your body, and potentially reduce the severity of your panic attack symptom.

    Only the First Part of the Process

    Reducing the severity of your panic attacks isn’t going to cure them forever, because hyperventilation is not the sole cause of the attack. But a weaker panic attack is a great first step, because it reduces the fear that you have over the meaning and future of your panic attacks, and from there you can learn to combat the anxiety and hopefully life a panic attack free life.

  7. 11 Myths About Anxiety Symptoms

    February 23, 2013

    anxiety and depressionMyth #1: One has to learn to live with this condition.
    TRUTH: One does NOT have to “learn to live” with this condition because there is a complete process, tools and methods to remove this from your life once and for all. Yes,  there is a sure way past this and it works! But it requires you to work on it, not only your psychologist or therapist.

    Myth #2: These feelings will always return…setbacks are inevitable.

    TRUTH: This is NOT true! Once you begin moving forward the symptoms will shrink down to manageable size until they no longer matter and dissipate all together. There are always “bumps in the road” in life, but when you slow down, remember your skills and tools, you will be able to negotiate anything. Remember, slowing down, keep going forward and moving ahead. You can never turn back!

    Myth #3: “I am worse than anyone else!”

    TRUTH: This is a normal feeling when looking at your anxiety symptoms and most people go through a period of thinking this thought. The truth of the matter is that no matter how you became to be in this condition, most people have remarkably similar symptoms. All these symptoms are adrenaline based and, therefore, limited and there’s a set way of moving past them. You may think you feel worse than others, but this is not true. When you go through this, the “right way” you will move past this is a relatively easy and quick fashion.

    Myth #4: “I’m too “young” “old” “busy” “scared” or “whatever” to get past this.”

    TRUTH: Age has no significance to getting past this condition. It is not a factor. Neither is anything else as long as you follow the formula…the process. There is a way out and anyone can do it. There is a “right way” to go through this and if a person uses these skills, being in total control again is perfectly attainable…..and in a relatively short time!

    Myth #5: “I need a “safe” person with me for support.”
    TRUTH: Psychological support is a marvelous thing to have and it feels fantastic, especially if this is a support from a psychologist or therapist, BUT it feels more sensational to rely on YOURSELF! Once you learn how to move past the symptoms and go forward with strength and control you will understand the feeling of depending on YOU. It is the greatest feeling on earth, and nothing else can compare! You are all you need to move past this. You are the only one who can grab the reins with this condition and give yourself the real comfort you need. Once you feel the strength of going through this with your own power you see extremely clearly that you are your own comfort zone.

    Myth #6: “The places I want to go are too “noisy”, “smoky”, “bright” or “crowded” for me to feel comfortable.”
    TRUTH: it is not the places………..It is what you are saying to yourself in these places. That is why you feel safe when you get home……you reassure yourself that you are safe and your body responds favorably. It does not matter if you are in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve if you know what to do. It is all in how you define where you are and the way you think……your body reactions just naturally follow.

    Myth #7: “Making it harder for me is the fact that family and friends simply don’t understand what I am going through!”
    TRUTH: This has to do with regaining your life and it doesn’t matter who else is on the peripheral. This is between you and yourself. Once you start gaining control, you will see things that USED to bother you will now roll off your back. When you are less vulnerable, things won’t stick any more. You’ll be treated differently because you will be acting differently.      You will see relationships improve because you won’t let “minor” incidents bother you and, you’ll feel better about yourself. It follows suit that everything else around you will naturally improve!

    Myth #8: “Maybe there’s something seriously wrong with me, that’s been overlooked!”
    TRUTH: Naturally after you’ve been checked by your psychiatrist or/and clinical psychologist and been diagnosed with the anxiety condition you will feel some relief. You know it’s anxiety symptoms, and you feel relieved it’s nothing physical. Then why do you still feel those symptoms? The reason is that your body is still hugely sensitized from weeks, months or years of fueling the feelings by thinking the wrong way. Once you begin to do it the right way and the symptoms stop mattering, you will realize even though the “first fear” flares from time to time that it will dissipate if you just stop feeding it and fueling it with your fears. These symptoms are the effects of adrenaline, and although they feel uncomfortable, they are merely trivial. Nothing to worry about.

    Myth #9: “I must do ANYTHING to avoid these feelings, they could hurt me!”
    TRUTH: Avoiding is what built up the fear that keeps you sensitized and in this condition.  I would also   rather see you go through it the “right way” than spend your whole life in fear and avoiding these anxiety symptoms. The way out of this, past this once in for all is going through it the RIGHT WAY!

    Myth #10: Drugs are the only answer. Sometimes you need a quick fix. NOT!!!
    TRUTH: Some medications do take the edge off; there’s no denying that. Some drugs also sedate and have side effects too. This is purely a personal choice between you and your health care provider. It is a choice though we work with people taking medications and those without medications too. Clinical psychologist or therapist could be a great help in case of anxiety or depression. We have seen people, with their physicians approval SLOWLY go off their medications after just a few months of psychotherapy sessions. We also feel whether you’re on medications or not; it’s invaluable to know how to go through this with skills, methods and tools you have learned and can carry along with you wherever you go!

    Myth #11: You’ve tried everything and Nothing works…..you’re stuck for life.
    TRUTH: You have not truly gone through it the “right way”…..You have given in to your fears and ignored your power. You own strength to go through this the correct way. No more avoiding. It’s time to embrace this and go through it correctly. You owe it to yourself to do it the right way, the only way, and conquer this condition once and for all!

  8. What Is A Phobia?

    February 16, 2013

    phobia anxiety

    Image credit: Matt & Nicole Cummings @Flickr

    A phobia is an irrational fear, an aversion, a hatred, or acute anxiety over something, or someone, an activity or a situation; which is a trigger that releases fear in that person. These fearful feelings can be generated by anything that normally does not pose a threat to life, they are usually a response to a mental image of a previous experience encountered, where an incident generated some anxiety and the mind was unable to rationalize the situation.
    At what point does a reasonable amount of anxiety and avoidance become a phobia? Increasing anxiety over apparently safe items indicates a phobia. If the level of anxiety is high and bears no relevance to the degree of danger involved, it is a phobia.
    Many people feel slightly apprehensive when boarding an aircraft, or facing a new situation, or meeting new people, but not to the point of being panic stricken, that avoidance is the only relief.
    The greater the anxiety, the stronger the desire is to avoid what is feared, and the greater the avoidance the more disruption is caused to the person’s life.

    False Beliefs About Phobias


    A phobia is not a serious mental illness, nor is it connected to any known physical illness. However painful and distressing your symptoms are, no matter how irrational and inexplicable your phobia and its effects may seem, no matter how dramatic and complete your loss of mental and/or physical control, these are not the first signs of insanity.
    The symptoms do not indicate a ‘nervous breakdown’. The modern view of phobias, which is accepted by the majority of specialists, is supported by a wealth of clinical and research evidence, Phobias are a result of an unfortunate but entirely normal process of learning.

    A Rare and Unique Illness

    Many phobics believe they are suffering from a rare illness, that is little known and nothing can be done, and this belief is endorsed when other people are seen to cope effortlessly with the same things that arouse a phobics’ fears. In fact phobias are very common, studies suggest one person in ten experiences such difficulties at least once in their life. Phobias have been studied for well over a hundred years and a great deal is known about them, effective treatments have been developed, mostly from the field of behavioural psychology.

    A Phobic is Weak-willed Or Stupid

    Sufferers often consider themselves ‘stupid’ or ‘weak’ because they are constantly told that by others. Non-sufferers can be irritable and impatient about the inability of a phobic to do something that most people tackle with ease. Having a phobia has nothing to do with a fault in your character, a weakness or a flaw in your personality. Some of the bravest people are those fighting to free themselves of their fears. People who tell you to ‘pull yourself together’, ‘stop being foolish’ speak with the voice of ignorance about fears and simply do not understand. The distress produced by a phobia can only be understood and appreciated by one who has experienced a phobia.

    Self control and positive thinking

    Telling yourself – or being told to exercise ‘self control’ is not the right kind of positive thinking and will not get rid of the fear. Saying ‘I am not going to feel afraid’ in a situation, without some preparation, is unrealistic positive thinking that will hinder your progress. Positive thinking has to be used in a constructive way and by using simple clear statements that :-

    •     Relate directly to any difficulties you anticipate.
    •     Are realistic about the likely outcome
    •     Must contain practical advice about how the situation can be tackled successfully.


    I know the situation will be difficult but I will be able to deal with it by concentrating on my breathing.
    The situation may make me feel tense but I shall be able to cope if I practice relaxing my muscles.
    Saying such positive statements and adding your own coping strategy will help :-

    •     I may find this difficult but I shall cope more easily if I remember to….
    •     The situation may be tricky to handle at times, but it will prove less difficult if I….
    •     I might find it slightly harder to cope, but I will keep my anxiety under control, if I study the surroundings in detail.
    •     Carrying out this task might make me nervous, but I will manage if I….